Club Focus – Chelsea – Hiddink makes return admission as Mancienne nears Chelsea exit

Chelsea’s search for a new manager could take a step closer towards a conclusion later this week as prime target Guus Hiddink takes charge of what could be his final match as coach of the Turkish national side. Currently, though he is in charge of leading Turkey’s attempts to qualify for Euro 2012, his side are struggling in third place and travel to 2nd-placed Belgium on Friday. Defeat in Brussels would leave Turkey facing an uphill battle to qualify for the finals to be hosted in Ukraine and Poland next summer after losses to group-toppers Germany and rank-outsiders Azerbaijan left them in a vulnerable position.

The 64-year-old Dutchman took charge at Stamford Bridge on a temporary basis back in 2009 after ill-fated Luis Felipe Scolari was dismissed in February. Combining his job as coach of Russia during their qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup with managing Chelsea, Hiddink immediately became popular with Blues fans as they enjoyed a successful run under his guidance. He lifted the FA Cup at the end of the season and led the West Londoners to the Champions League semi-finals where he came within an Andres Iniesta injury-time equaliser of taking the Blues to a second consecutive final.

At the time, however, he was unwilling to take the job full-time in favour of leaving Russia, but remained at the club in an advisory role during the two years under recently deposed Carlo Ancelotti. Last week, Hiddink admitted he would be open to a return to Chelsea and take over the vacant manager position: “If there was a concrete offer, then I would think about it,” the former South Korea and Australia coach confessed. “First, get this game done next Friday, a difficult game, you know. Then we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, whether Hiddink or one of the other candidates to take over at the Blues helm, they will likely have to do without defender Michael Mancienne as the youngster looks set to become the first player to exit the club this summer having undergone a medical with German side Hamburg. At 23, the versatile defender, who can play in the centre and at right-back as well as being competent in centre midfield, Mancienne has become a forgotten character at the club after having failed to force his way into starting consideration and has spent a number of years on loan at QPR and more recently Wolves.

The deal, reportedly set to cost the side who finished 8th in this seasons’ Bundesliga around £1.75m, has been brokered by former Chelsea technical director Frank Arnesen, with Mancienne agreeing terms on a four-year contract. The England Under 21 international, capped 27 times for his country and heading to this summers’ European Under 21 Championships in Denmark, was unfortunate during his time at Chelsea that management of the side changed hands regularly. Since he turned professional in January 2006, the Blues have been managed by no less than six men with Mancienne given his debut by former assistant manager Ray Wilkins against Watford in the FA Cup two years ago in his sole game in charge after Scolari’s sacking. Despite making just four appearances for the Blues, he was voted Chelsea Young Player of the Year for the 2008-09 season. His exit from Stamford Bridge is expected to confirmed imminently.

Related posts

Leave a Comment